Wikimedia Platform Engineering/MediaWiki Core Team/Backlog/Process

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The MediaWiki Core team is overhauling its planning process.

The MediaWiki Core team will have a backlog kept on mediawiki.org. The content of the backlog will be created by the entire team, with the management of the backlog being the Product Manager’s responsibility. Items on the backlog will be grouped into three categories:

  • High priority. These issues are important and must be worked on soon, and are under serious consideration for the following quarter.
  • Medium priority. These issues are fairly important, but are either not an immediate priority for the next quarterly.
  • Low priority. These issues are things we should do at some point, but they are very low priority compared to other issues.

Each item in the backlog may have descriptive attributes:

  • an outline of the importance of the project
  • a list of the stakeholders of the project
  • technical details of the project (defined by the relevant engineer)
  • an assessment of difficulty (defined by the relevant engineer)

In order for a project to be included in the high priority list, it is necessary (but not sufficient) for all of these attributes to be present. The priority of the project will be decided as a team, with the consensus determined by the Product Manager and Team Lead Engineer.

This backlog will inform the quarterly planning sessions, and therefore create the agenda for the next quarter. The only items which will be considered for each quarter are those that are on the high priority list; items from the medium and low lists will be totally ignored in the quarterly planning.

The process for creating this backlog will be as follows:

  • There will be fortnightly project scoping meetings led by the Product Manager. In each meeting, or two specific projects will be discussed, scoped and added to the backlog by the Product Manager. The projects that will be discussed will be announced a week in advance so that people can decide how important it is for them to attend. The priority of these projects will be decided or reassessed in this meeting, so if a project you care about is being discussed, it’s in your interests to attend this.
  • Once per quarter, there will be a quarterly planning session where the team takes items from the high priority list and decides on the most important ones for the next quarter; this will constitute the plan for the next quarter. As mentioned above, any item in the medium or low priority list will not even be considered.
  • The quarterly review will happen as usual, led by the Product Manager, where the team’s plan for the next quarter will be announced and discussed to a wider audience.